We believe youth are the lifeblood of our community, and that innovation is the lifeblood of any industry (and ultimately our economy). With this belief, Youth CITIES created an ecosystem to cultivate entrepreneurial mindset in our young people, not just teach them about small-business creation.
Youth CITIES inspires youth to take *their* interests, talents, skills, and experiences…mobilizes youth to invent new products, create new markets, and innovate new ways to serve customer needs…and supports youth in their entrepreneurial journey.
The March-to-May Bootcamp is our flagship program, and has been commended by:
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- City of Boston
- City of Cambridge
Designed for middle school and high school students, from any school or town, participants work with a variety of entrepreneurs to start a venture, figure out how it impacts our local community, and determine how its going to make money while driving change.
Fast-paced and exciting, a variety of influencers from the entrepreneurial ecosystem share their experiences while teaching creative problem-solving skills, fundamentals of leadership, entrepreneurship, networking, presenting/pitching (in a variety of situations). In addition to those skills, students see:
- that an entrepreneurial mindset goes hand-in-hand with tech/artistic/social innovation.
- how, as unique individuals, youth are relevant and capable. Different perspectives, learning styles, skillsets, and interests are not to be stifled, but rather leveraged as springboards for innovation.
- how a venture can incorporate an economic model AND strategic philanthropy, as money is not the only measure of success…yet money is needed to do good works effectively and consistently.
Students compete individually or in teams to start-up and build a social venture to solve real-world problems. Everyone pitches in the Semi-finals, and the top venture ideas present to a panel of finalist judges. The strongest venture idea/pitch receives $1500 seed grant funding.
ALL students who complete the Bootcamp are recognized as Youth CITIES Scholars by the City of Boston/Cambridge for their entrepreneurial training, and have access to CITIES Skunkworks (physical space and mentoring office hours, among other perks to reach a Minimal Viable Product such as access to coders and 3D printers). Youth CITIES Scholars also have access to additional funding through the venture simulation fund, and may also apply for exclusive internships within Skunkworks.
This Bootcamp covers a lot of information, and each class builds off of the prior one. It is important for students to attend all of the classes so as to not fall behind. If there are special circumstances (such as SAT’s), please let Vicky know in advance. The following is an outline of the program with key dates that students are required to attend:
March 3rd, 2016 (Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm):
This will be an opportunity for students to get a glimpse of what social entrepreneurship meet one another. Students and parents will also meet and network with some of the Youth CITIES instructors, mentors, and judges. Course curriculum and workbooks will also be handed out.
March 5th through April 30th, 2016 (every Saturday from 9am to 12pm):
Learn about different types of ventures, basic principles of entrepreneurship, how to incorporate community-giving while still generating profit, why a venture needs money, and presentation skills, etc. Classroom lectures, case studies, role-playing, and mock-pitches will be used to teach business fundamentals. Weekly take-home assignments will lead up to a completed Powerpoint presentation and oral pitch of student venture idea.
CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) tour and Venture Café Networking
April 28th, 2016 (6pm to 8pm):
CIC is a full service office-campus in Cambridge believed to house more start-ups under its roof than any other facility in the world. Venture Café, housed at CIC, serves as a nexus for helping innovators and entrepreneurs find one another and collaborate to bring their dreams to reality. Youth CITIES students jump into the mix of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and practice the “elevator pitch” portion of the final oral presentation in an effort to make a memorable impression among the various networkers. The student that gets the most mentions by the Venture Café community receives a $50 iTunes gift card.
April 30th, 2016 (9am-12pm):
Semi-final presentations – all ventures will present. Parents are encouraged to attend.
May 7th, 2016 (10am-1pm):
Top 3 ventures will present their pitch for funding ($1,500) and support network to launch a pilot program. Lunch and awards ceremony will follow. This event is open to all students and their respective family and friends, all program judges/mentors/instructors, and special guests.
All program events/classes will be held at CIC or Microsoft in Kendall Square, Cambridge.